Page 1

Ever wish for something to hand out at community events or open houses that easily explained or visually showed some aspect of Montessori that didn’t overwhelm the reader? Who better than the people who wrote the book, The Montessori Way, to introduce such a product!

Three Pamphlets Now Available in Spanish!

NINE Montessori pamphlets now available. Use the form below to order.

Each pamphlet bundle contains 50 of the same title and is incredibly affordable at $15 USD per bundle plus postage. The items are in stock and ready to ship. They may be purchased the following ways: 1. Through our online publication center located at the Foundation’s website: (go right into the ‘bookstore’ tab) 2. By calling Margot at 800 632 4121 (IMC school members receive a discount on this item and will need to call with credit card. Should your IMC school membership need to be renewed, we will do that at the same time.) 3. Use this order form and either mail or fax your order. Make checks payable to: The Montessori Foundation and mail to 19600 E State Road 64, Bradenton, FL 34212 USA. Fax number is 941 359 8166. Please select: USPS Flat Rate Priority or expedited courier service, such as FEDEX/UPS, which can be substantially more expensive (price is determined by weight and location by the courier). We will estimate this for you before charging out). Couriers cannot deliver to a PO BOX. 1. What is Montessori? ❑ English ❑ Spanish

_____#of bundles @$15

Total due $_______

2. Why would you start your three-year-old in school? ❑ English ❑ Spanish

_____#of bundles @$15

Total due $_______

3. Montessori Nurtures Curiosity, Creativity & Imagination

_____#of bundles @$15 Total due $_______

4. What can Montessori offer our infants & toddlers?

_____#of bundles @$15

Total due $_______

5. Creating a Culture of Partnership, Kindness, Respect & Peace

_____#of bundles @$15

Total due $_______

6. The Importance of Montessori for Kindergarten ❑ English ❑ Spanish

_____#of bundles @$15

Total due $______

7. Joyful Scholars: Montessori for the Elementary Years

_____#of bundles @$15

Total due $______

8. Research & Montessori

_____#of bundles @$15

Total due $______

9. Montessori in the Home

_____#of bundles @$15

Total due $______

Shipping Method: ❑ USPS FLAT RATE PRIORITY ❑ COURIER (FedEx/UPS) ❑ 1 - 3 bundles $5.95 ❑ 4 - 12 bundles $10.95 ❑ 13+ bundles $12.95


Shipping Amount $______ $______

IMC membership number ___________ for discounted pricing of $12.50 per bundle. To obtain shipping-cost information for orders outside US, call 941-309-3961 or email: (Note: We do not accept Discover cards.) Credit card#___________________________ Name on Card____________________________________Exp. date_________ EMAIL address where receipt should be sent___________________________________________________ (please print clearly) Mailing address and name of contact person___________________________________________________ (please print clearly) Phone number in case we have a question(_____) ______________________________________________ SAMPLES ARE $1.00 EACH PLUS $1.44 S&H (US) ($2.44 CANADA) (S&H APPLIES FOR UP TO NINE BROCHURES). CIRCLE: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9


©Tomorrow’s Child Magazine November 2012 •

Montessori Leadership is the official magazine of the International Montessori Council, a non-profit organization. The opinions expressed in Montessori Leadership editorials, columns, and features are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the position of the magazine or the IMC. Acceptance of advertising does not represent endorsement of any product or service. The International Montessori Council does NOT grant permission to reprint material from Montessori Leadership in any other form (e.g., book, newsletter, journal). Copies of this issue or back issues are available for purchase online at

Montessori Leadership

. Copyright 2012 by The International Montessori Council. All rights reserved.

Chair Tim Seldin, M.Ed Editor Joyce St. Giermaine Art Director/IMC Membership Director/ Conference Coordinator and Bookstore Manager: Margot Garfield-Anderson 800 632 4121 Phone 941 309 3961/FAX: 941 359 8166 Article submissions and consulting: Hillary Drinkell 800 655 5843 and Sharon Caldwell Layout & Design Katrina Costedio Tomorrow’s Child Online: The Montessori Family Connection Lorna McGrath Phone: 941-729-9565/1-800-655-5843 Fax: 941-745-3111 email: For immediate service, use our secure online bookstore at For questions regarding an order, email: Subscriptions & Bookkeeping Don Dinsmore Phone: 941-729-9565/1-800-655-5843 Fax: 941-745-3111 email: Classified & Display Advertising Chelsea Howe Phone: 410-504-3872 Fax: 941-745-3111

Features | December 2012 4

Seeing Red Flags in the Classroom by Meg Caldwell


Evaluating and Reporting on Student Progress in a Montessori School by Tim Seldin & Sharon Caldwell

14 Bilingualism & False Diagnosis by Amina Elshishini 15 Congratulations to the International Montessori School of Hong Kong 16 Nurturing the Entrepreneurial Spirit by Maren Schmidt 17 Vision, Mission... and Then What by Hildy Gottlieb | Introduction by Sharon Caldwell 18 Some Thoughts on Staff Interactions by Sharon Caldwell 20 Montessori Education in Japan by Fumiko Fukuhara & Kiyoko Okuyama 24 Navigating the Classroom with Montessori Compass by Alexandra Wlodkowski 26 The Montessori Leadership Collaborative Meeting in Washington DC

DE C 2 0 1 2 | w w w. m o n | Š Mont essori L ea de rship


Setting Up Strategies for Student Success by Meg Caldwell, Children's Meeting House Montessori School Are we seeing more learning differences in children? on television, environmental toxins, aging parents, or more This is a question that teachers have repeatedly asked me. They are seeing students who struggle with concentration issues, processing information, an inability to follow multiple-step procedures or directions, sensory challenges, and an inability to capture thoughts on paper. And more importantly, they ask: Why are we seeing more and how do we meet their learning needs? The prevalence of learning disability identification has increased dramatically in the past 20 years. The “real” prevalence of LD is subject to much dispute because of the lack of an agreed-upon definition of LD with objective identification criteria. Some researchers have argued that the currently recognized 5% prevalence rate is inflated; others argue that LD is still underidentified. In fact, it appears that there are both sound and unsound reasons for the increase in identification rates.Sound reasons for the increase include better research, a broader definition of disability in reading, focusing on phonological awareness, and greater identification of learning disabilities in girls. Unsound reasons for the increase include broad and vague definitions of learning disability, financial incentives to identify students for special education, and inadequate preparation of teachers by colleges of education, leading to overreferral of students with any type of special need. (Lyon, 1996) As a society, we now know more about child development, medical conditions, brain research, experiential learning and memory studies. As a result, are we as educators finding more information? Are we more critical in our analysis of how and what students know and retain? Are our students coming to us with this information already uncovered? Educators of all persuasions including Montessorians are witnessing significant increases in the number of students with learning difficulties. In recent years, both researchers and practitioners have noted a rise in attention issues, autism spectrum disorders, and sensory integration difficulties. Blame it


systematic identification; the rise crosses ethnic, racial and economic lines. (Cossentino, 2010) Educators bring theory; training, and experience in their backpack of teaching and learning. The desire of every teacher who is passionate about education is to approach each student as a masterpiece in progress, unveiling strengths and challenges. The work of the educator is complicated because the learning clues for each individual vary and are not always obvious. In my three decades dedicated to education, I believe that we all have challenges; it is just a matter of where they are worn. Some of us wear them on the inside, some us wear them on the outside, and some of us wear them both inside and outside. It is often easiest to work as an educator with students who wear challenges on the outside that are visible to the eye. Challenges worn on the inside are more complicated. These challenges are often not as evident in detection, and we expect a typical, age-appropriate response from a student. As a Montessori private school administrator for the past six years, I have worked with my teaching team to create a process that can be used when a red flag in a student’s learning is detected. Many of the step-by-step procedures are refined procedures and a result of my previous administrative work with an exceptional Intervention Assistance Team (IAT) at Dater Montessori School, a magnet program in the Cincinnati, Ohio Public School System. Step One: When red flags are seen in a student’s learning, start with observation and documentation of these explanations. The teacher's experience of observation should be considered in three parts: Perceptual Observation; Rational Observation; and Contemplative Observation. These three parts overlap. Paul Epstein speaks about distinguishing the importance of Observations versus Record Keeping. He proposes a new kind of observation framework in which we record our Perceptual Observations (what we see, hear, contrast), our

© Mo n tesso r i L ea de r sh i p | w | DEC 2012

Rational Observations (what we analyze

Step Four: Use your discussions to

or infer from what we are seeing/hear-

fuel your next steps. Look at what strate-

ing), and use the skill of Contemplative

gies you are using in the classroom that

Observation to bring forth new ideas,

might be working or not working.

allowing us to see the “spiritual truth” of the situation. (Epstein, 2009) Step Two: If there is a concern that may be of a behavioral nature, look for

Strategies for attention/

concentration challenges:

Strategies with

executive functioning and organization: 

Use a simple file folder system for each curricula.

A daily work plan rather

Use graph paper to help align work.

than a weekly plan.

Color code operational symbols.

In lessons, the student has

Use a picture schedule for tasks

 

preferential sitting next to an adult.

to be completed in order, with

Provide rocking chairs in the

the student choosing the order.

people to “do it now!” Sometimes a trig-

classroom or office chairs that

ger can be external, like an alarm sound-

will move and rock as needed.

ing. Other times, the trigger can come

student to demonstrate knowledge.

The child has his own “office.”

are often referred to as triggers. Ask what triggers the behavior? Triggers tell

Allow other visual options for

patterns of what happens prior to the action and following the action. These

A chewy necklace made from a squishy pencil grip.

from our daily routine. The concept of a

Strategies for anxiety and other behavioral challenges: 

Strategies for active

Structure careful transitions.

Provide sensory prompts – visual,

tion form follows. Often behaviors can


Reinforce desired behaviors.

mask learning challenges or are present

Redirect or ignore

trigger has different names: cue, prompt, request, and call to action. (Fogg, 2009) An example of a behavioral data collec-

memory and processing

she needs to do in the assignment. 

set of eyes and another opinion. Share your observations and findings only after

The child is asked to paraphrase or

Allow for movement and varied work spaces.

“self talk” summarizing what he or

Step Three: Ask a trusted colleague or administrator to observe for a second

inappropriate behaviors.

chunked into smaller steps.

due to pure frustration from a student when learning obstacles exist.

Directions or steps are

physical, nonverbal as needed.

Have a routine and system in place

The student does a check-in after

for students to express concerns in

each step to simplify the process.

a nonverbal manner when worried,

The student uses visual

anxious or need assistance.

he/she has had a chance to observe so that

cues or index cards for core

their views are not obscured by what you

curriculum rules and steps.

The following cases demonstrate how

The child sets a goal of length of

specific strategies for success can

child development resources like Yard-

time needed to complete task and

support student learning.

sticks (Wood, 2007). This comprehen-

uses a timer to keep him on track.

might already suspect. Consult reliable

sive, user-friendly reference offers clear

Use “sensory guides” such

descriptions of children's development

as books on tape, study

from age four to fourteen. For each age,

guides, outlines and notes.

this book includes narrative description of developmental traits and charts summarizing physical, social, language, and

Consider the following case of Colby. Colby’s smile could light up a room if

Strategies specifically with transferring thoughts/

cognitive growth patterns. Yardsticks as

information to paper:

a resource, has helped countless teachers

and administrators shape classrooms and schools where all children can succeed.

The Case of Colby

you could catch the toothy grin between his very active whirlwind of work. He struggles with any information “stick-

Allow student to dictate some

ing” and staying on task. His teachers

responses to peer or adult.

use various work agendas for him from

Provide hands-on manipulatives.

a modified color-coded work plan to a

DE C 2 0 1 2 | w w w. m o n | © Mont essori L ea de rship


picture schedule that he was involved in choosing and setting. Part of Colby’s routine following a lesson is to have him verbalize or “self talk” what he needs to do as a first step for an activity, with continuous check-ins after each step. Colby varies his work location in the classroom from rocking chair at a table to a gel cushion on the floor. As well, he has benefited from intense after-school phonetic-skill tutoring. Most recently, Colby has been diagnosed as dyslexic and as having attention deficit disorder (ADD).

The Case of Ava Jane Ava Jane, from an observer’s eye, appears reserved and rather shy or timid by nature. From a teacher’s perspective, she is an active listener who does not participate much. When Ava Jane is asked a question in a group, she often shrugs her shoulders. When working one on one with students, she sometimes talks so much, she has a hard time getting her work done. Ava Jane has selective mutism. She is able to speak to her friends one on one in the class; however, in group settings (small or large), she rarely contributes. For her teachers, the challenge is determining how to assess her and how to phrase questions so that she can comfortably respond. For Ava Jane, the teachers have given her older student partners to work with for some activities. These are children who have learned how to ask question that require “identifying” information by pointing to labels, pictures, or with nonverbal responses. The same has been true for how the teachers assess Ava Jane’s knowledge. They use the same method as the student partners though more indepth when searching for skill progress or mastery. Most all of her assessment is currently written, or the second period of the Montessori three-period lesson.


As the Primary teacher, when you have gathered enough information about the student’s red flags in learning, discuss ideas with your teaching team at your level. Often, the collective power of teaching experience may reveal other questions or observations that you have not considered. Be sure that at this point the administrator has also been brought into the discussion. This will allow you, as the classroom teacher, to determine who should be present at a meeting with parents. Often, a team leader or administrator can provide a view or make suggestions from a different lens of observation.

The child’s plan of success must include the primary partnership of the parents and the teaching team. Step Five: The child’s plan of success must include the primary partnership of the parents and the teaching team. The purpose of creating an intervention plan following the parent and teacher meeting is to create a road map and documentation of what has worked or not worked. It will also provide next steps if outside resources or an educational evaluation might be warranted. The simplest form of an intervention plan requires outlining the areas of concern, the strategies or interventions to address these concerns, and the desired outcomes. A more detailed plan will include areas of

challenge, strategies, and forms of ongoing evaluation. Any intervention plan deserves 4-6 weeks before reconvening as a team to see what strategies have been effective, as well as adjustments to the plan for further success. Data is only useful when it helps match a student’s needs with appropriate assistance. This depends entirely on the capacity of teachers to make sense of the observations, tallies, and scores they compile. Early intervention calls teachers to activate the analytic and experimental side of their practice, which is, central to Maria Montessori’s vision of “scientific pedagogy.” (Cossentino, 2010) The following is an example of an intervention plan. The case of Bailey is why this systematic approach works.

The Case of Bailey Bailey has an intervention plan in place that was collectively discussed and written by her parents, teacher, administrator, and Orton Gillingham (tutor). As a six-year-old, she struggles with remembering letter sounds consistently and putting letter sounds together into words. As a result, Bailey relies on the method of making educational guesses. The intervention plan provides the teachers and parents with framework to set strategies in place and review them in a six-week framework. Part of the review will be to determine strategies that are working and those that are not, as well as next steps, such as a continued four-week period with some of the same strategies, as well as different ones. It may also help to decide if an evaluation is needed for Bailey’s future learning success. In an intervention plan meeting with the parents, teachers, an administrator,

© Mo n tesso r i L ea de r sh i p | w | DEC 2012

child psychologist, and the student who was old enough to participate in creating her plan, Dr. David Smoot, a Raleigh child psychologist explained it well to a student who was old enough to be a part of his intervention plan for successful learning. The child was a fourth grader at the time. Dr. Smoot explained that each of us is unique or different, and how unexciting life would be if we all looked, learned, and responded in the same way. He continued to tell the student that we all have obstacles to tackle in our journey whether in learning or life. How we choose to tackle them is the important part. Some of us will leap over these hurdles, some of us must climb under the hurdles and some of us will run around them, being encourage and supported by our team members that surround us. We might fall down and scratch our knees, but not giving up is key. A team is not one person alone; rather, it is a collective group that begins with the student, the parents, the teaching team, and other members as needed. It can be a tremendous team and rewarding process if the collaboration is present with the student’s success in mind. Conclusion We, as educators, must learn to trust our educational intuition when we see red flags in students’ learning. A systematic approach will guide each step beginning with observation and data collection followed by discussion and documentation. This method will allow a clear road map to set up children for success in the classroom and ultimately set strategies that support how they work and learn best. We must not dwell on the limitations— we must focus on the possibilities. (Wolf, 1996).


Lyon, G. R. (1996). “Special Education for Students

Cossentino, J. (2010). “Following All the Children:

with Disabilities.”

Early Intervention and Montessori.” Montessori Life, 22(4), 38-45.

The Future of Children, 6(1). Retrieved from http://

Epstein, P. (2009, May 16). Montessori Conference Part 2: Observation. Retrieved from http://thesecre-

Wolf, A. (1996). Nurturing the Spirit in Non-Sectarian

Classrooms. Westminster: Child Parent Press.

Fogg, B.J. (2011). “Fogg’s Behavior model.” Retrieved

Wood, C. (2007). Yardsticks. Turners Fall: Northeast


Foundation for Children.

DE C 2 0 1 2 | w w w. m o n | © Mont essori L ea de rship


Tim Seldin & Sharon Caldwell "Here is the essential principle of education: to teach details is to bring confusion; to establish the rela- Converting from letter-grade to narrative reports tionship between things is to bring knowledge.” —Maria Montessori, Childhood to Adolescence


he Montessori curriculum is carefully structured and sequenced, and teachers maintain careful records of each child’s progress. Because Montessori Schools do not compare students against arbitrary standards, or against the performance of their classmates, we do not use familiar letter grades. There are many reasons for this. Generally letter grades are a poor reflection of a child’s learning. Their popularity is based on a vision of education that requires quantifiable data that supports comparisons and ranking. Montessori classes are multi-aged, and are designed to accommodate widely divergent learning and self-chosen work. The implication is that conventional assessment and reporting techniques are simply not very well suited and cannot be expected to accurately represent the range and depth of learning that takes place in a well prepared Montessori environment. Narrative reports are better suited to the Montessori context. A narrative report is just what the name says – a written narrative that describes each child’s activities for the period under review. The Montessori Foundation recommends that schools compile detailed narrative reports twice a year to report on the child’s development and to discuss how the Montessori program is contributing to their growth. Narrative reports are personalized and helped to give parents a level of insight into their child’s learning in a way that letter grades, or indeed any quantitative method, simply cannot do. Narrative reports not only allow for a description and assessment of what the child has been working on, but also provide an opportunity for the teacher to link the child’s new learning to past preparation and forecast what the child might be working on in the future.


Sometimes schools worry that parents will resist a change from the familiar letter grade reports to the more descriptive narrative style. Provided they are well done, parents seldom complain about narrative reports, and if they do it may indicate that they are not fully supportive of the Montessori approach. You may want to include a brief explanation of why your school has shifted to this style the first time you send out a narrative report. Here are some parent responses one school received when shifting from a conventional to a narrative format: “THANK YOU Gail for the truly magnificent progress report! I enjoyed every second and every word that you wrote about Kelly. Everyone knows that my daughter is a sprite of few words so to read all about what she is up to at school was refreshing and fun to hear. This new style of reporting seems more thoughtful and informative and I really hope this type of narrative reporting is here to stay. A very big thank you AGAIN to you ALL for the quality time and special interest shown in [name removed] development emotionally and practically. Now I just can’t wait for the next edition.” “When Sally gave me the report yesterday never was I expecting such an informative and exciting review of the progress of our [name removed]. It is so special to know that his teachers are right on the button in assessing his abilities, weaknesses and personality traits. I am so lucky to be a part of his life and thank everyone at Mountain Montessori for helping me build and mould this amazing little boy for his future role in society. A HUGE THANK YOU!!!” “A very HUGE THANK YOU to all at Mountain Montessori. Love the new report style. So many questions were already answered about Jimmy which was on my list for the next meeting. You guys are on the ball! Well done & thank you once again.”

© Mo n tesso r i L ea de r sh i p | w | DEC 2012

Record and assess with reporting in mind

“Our nets define what we shall catch.” (Eisner, 7) Curriculum theorist Elliot Eisner compared the assessment processes chosen to fishing nets. The size of the gap in the netting determines which fish are held in the net and which swim through. In this way, what is assessed (and thus reported on) ultimately determines what happens in the classroom. It is this important to remember that reporting is the culmination of a sequence of events and decisions that start with the school’ vision, mission and aims. The aims are then extrapolated in the curriculum. Assessment should be carried out in respect of the curriculum. Reporting is, in essence the final step in the process of documenting. It is an individualized, summarized report on the extent to which the curriculum has been successful, for each particular child, in bringing about the school’s stated aims. It is thus essential that there is a high level of consistency between all the various elements: aims, curriculum, assessment and reporting. Throughout the year you will be observing children working. Keep good narrative records of observations to supplement any checklists you may be using. It is also a good idea to take photographs in the classroom to remind you of details you may not have included in your notes, and to illustrate points in the report. Choose one or two especially representative photos for each child, and include these in your report. When making narrative observations, highlight items that you may want to include in the report: major milestones achieved, work that has resulted in deep

concentration or about which a child is particularly enthusiastically. Also note challenges you observe and areas where the child still needs lots of practice. Narrative records pose additional challenges at the elementary and secondary levels, but with the proper planning can they can become an integral part of the ongoing planning – assessing – reporting cycle. Especially as the Montessori curriculum is integrated, rather than divided into separate disciplines, the report can be structured around skills and dispositions rather than academic areas if you choose to do so. Purpose and use of narrative reports Good narrative reports do more than simply give feedback to parents – they also re-enforce the school’s vision and ethos. Because you are reporting on what you intended for the children to learn, and not on some arbitrary external list of standards or outcomes, the report reflects what matters in your school. It is important to remember that narrative reports are formal, official school documents that become part of each st udent's permanent academic record. Although narrative reports are originally prepared as a report from the child's present teachers to his or her parents, they will be read in later years by subsequent teachers, both in your school and in any school(s) to which the child transfers in the future. Therefore, it is essential that you avoid any references that would not be clearly understood by a reader not familiar with your class and school. If you know a child is transferring to another school in the following year you can structure your narrative report and use terminology that explains the child’s development in terminology

that will be understandable to the new school, without compromising the fidelity of the Montessori report. This is one of the ways in which Montessori schools can distinguish themselves from other schools. Narrative reports embody our commitment to each child as unique individual. They communicate that we are not simply teaching and then testing to see if the teaching has “stuck”, but rather that the adults are creating real relationships with children and taking the effort understand not only what learning and development is happening, but also how it is happening. When the anticipated learning is not happening, we are interested in why it isn’t and how we might help the child to move to the next level. If done well the narrative report serves to remind parents just why they chose Montessori in the first place. Indirect preparation One of the reasons why letter grade or, to a slightly lesser degree, checklists are inappropriate in a Montessori context is that they do not account for that quintessential component of Montessori learning – indirect preparation. Coupled with this is the “explosive” nature of learning in the Montessori classroom. Unlike conventional schooling where steady incremental growth is the norm, Montessori schools expect children (especially those under age 60 to show little external evidence of learning for extended periods. These periods of apparent stagnation are followed by explosions of learning where the child surges ahead in a particular area. Indirect preparation is the reason why Montessori schools prefer not to report too regularly – the evidence of learning simply isn’t always there. But the understanding of indirect preparation can be conveyed to parents

DE C 2 0 1 2 | w w w. m o n | © Mont essori L ea de rship


in a narrative. For example: “Amy has been working with the sand paper letters with great focus for the past few weeks. While she is not yet vocalizing a knowledge of the sounds associated with the letters she has been feeling, her increasing concentration and interest in this work indicates that we can expect to see an interest in writing and word building in the future.” A sentence of this nature not only tells the parents what the child is doing, but also how it links to future learning. These observations do not contain judgment – the child’s work is neither good nor bad. It is appropriate for that child, now. Some work seems to have very little direct or measurable outcome, for example a child who is repeatedly feeling the geometric solids. You could help a parent understand this by explaining “Kyle spends a lot of time feeling the geometric solids. Although he is not currently interested in learning the names, he is paying a lot of attention to the differences between the different shapes and enjoys exploring the differences between them. This activity is providing him with a solid foundation for future studies in geometry, which may only reveal itself at the elementary level.” This type of reporting is an application of the “principle of the hook” – the Montessori understanding of all learning being linked to something already there and something being prepared for in the future. At the elementary or secondary level children may choose to work almost exclusively in one are of development. By looking at his or her learning holistically it is possible to report on learning across academic areas. For example, a child who is passionately exploring the animal kingdom will be developing and apply-


ing reading, comprehension and writing skills without necessarily working with materials in the language arts area. Subsequent reports will refer back to earlier comments and create a link in the sequence of learning. This helps parents to appreciate their children’s learning as a continuum, rather than a series of isolated achievements. Preparing Narrative Reports A narrative report is a formal written text describing in some detail a child’s academic, emotional, social and physical development. The first time you compile a set of narrative reports, it seems like a lot more work than compiling conventional letter grade reports. With practice, and good advance preparation, narrative reporting is both easy and rewarding. Plan to write your reports well in advance. You can even write whole paragraphs in your ongoing notes that can be harvested when you begin to write reports. If there are areas where you perceive “gaps” in your ability to report, plan presentations and conduct informal assessments well ahead of time. Reports follow from authentic assessment, and authentic assessment is always performed primarily to inform teaching, and not simply for the purpose of assessment. There is nothing that undermines a parent’s confidence more than reading a report that says a child cannot do something that the parent knows full well the child mastered months ago. Tools for report writing The writing process is made much easier

if you do some advance planning. We recommend you compile two sets of lists that will assist you in writing your narrative report. These lists must be informed by your school’s vision and mission, and by your curriculum. Your school has a vision – an idea of what you want to achieve through your educational practice. If your mission is to develop the whole child your reporting must reflect that. If your school is, on the other hand, overtly academic, then that should be the major focus of your reports. If your schools mission and vision includes references to compassion, acceptance and inclusion, then the reports should indicate the extent to which those characteristics are being developed. It is preferable that the lists are drawn up early in the year, so that you can make your ongoing notes and observations with these in mind. Decide which general areas you want to cover in the report The first is a list of the general areas of knowledge and skills the child is likely to achieve in your class. It is important to have a faculty meeting where you discuss the types of things you want to include in the basic layout. Montessori education is about a lot more than simply completing work and learning content. If your school is more interested in how the child is learning than what he is learning your narrative style can convey that, while at the same time reassuring parents that real learning is taking place. On the other hand, a school with a strong academic focus can highlight cognitive and intellectual achievements in the reports. Conventional checklists and reports are a starting point for these categories. They help you to get thinking, and to ensure that you narrative gives good coverage

© Mo n tesso r i L ea de r sh i p | w | DEC 2012


Jason often discov-

of all areas of development. Even if your school has a strong focus on one or the other area, it is important to give some attention to all domains. Thus your headings should cover cognitive, emotional, social and physical development at all levels. While many schools choose to use the major disciplines or curriculum areas as their main headings, you could choose to avoid reporting by academic area entirely. For example at the preschool level you could use the features of Normalization or the Human Tendencies as headings, and use subject matter descriptions to illustrate the child’s development in an integrated way. Either option works well, provided the whole school is following roughly the same format. Try to keep the format fairly consistent from year to year, as parents get confused by constantly changing report formats. Compile a list of descriptive statements Your second list will be sample descriptions of work done, activities achieved, attitudes expressed and so on. Just as in the case of the headings, you should word these statements so that they reflect the character and values of the school as a whole. Especially for children in the second and third planes of development, you need to report on more than simply narrating what material the child has worked with, and what concepts have been learned. Higher levels of engagement with curriculum content should be reported. In this regard it is helpful to refer to Bloom’s Taxonomy of learning outcomes to ensure that the students are reaching higher levels of cognitive development. Resources for Bloom’s Taxonomy have lists of skills in the cognitive, affective and psychomotor domains, with descriptions that can help you find the wording you

will need, and which can be adapted to your own needs. See for example http:// w w ark/hrd/ bloom.html As helping the child become an autonomous human being able to function independently in the world is a primary goal in Montessori, consideration of the extent to which each child meets his or her own human needs is a productive exercise. Consider the various steps to selfactualization mentioned in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs – physiological, safety, love/belonging, esteem and self-actualization. (See wiki/Maslow%27s_hierarchy_of_needs) An alternative, possibly more holistic, approach to needs is offered by Manfred Max-Neef. (A basic matrix can be found at Understanding the ways in which the children on each level in the Montessori school develop the skills and dispositions to meet these needs broadens the range of meaningful aspects on which you can report, and aligns especially well with the focus on Fundamental Needs that is central to the Montessori elementary curriculum. Whatever you include, the purpose of this list is not that you simply choose statements at random, but to provide some help in overcoming writers block. Sometimes simply scanning down the list helps to trigger ideas about a particular child that can then be linked to specific examples. Having a good thesaurus handy helps as well. Parents do compare reports, and will not welcome almost identical reports for different children.

ers connections for

himself. He was overjoyed when he discovered the correlation between the

2 dimensional representation of Asia in the puzzle map, and Asia on the colored globe.

This represents a step along the path to

abstraction in understanding how the earth is represented in maps.


When Sipho joined the class he lacked confidence. He is

still avoiding writ-

ten work but has now begun to take

part in a large variety of activities. He is particularly enjoying everything related

to science and participates actively in all group discussions. Sipho has been absolutely fascinated with the experiments with

solubility and density. He is beginning to be

more assertive, volunteering his thoughts on different issues and asking relevant and

probing questions during lessons. We an-

ticipate that during next term he will be ready to commit his ideas to paper, and begin to produce more formal work.


Liam is often unsettled



arrives in the morning. He has recently


the birdbath in the

garden and enjoys

spending some quiet time their first thing in the morning. He has learned how to calm himself, and now comes into the

classroom ready to choose some focused

The second purpose of the list is that it helps all faculty members to privilege language which aligns with the schools’ character and aims, and creates a consistent style throughout the school.

activity. His ability to concentrate has improved remarkably since he has been spending time in the garden immediately after arriving at school.

DE C 2 0 1 2 | w w w. m o n | © Mont essori L ea de rship


Involving students in report writing Some schools find it beneficial to involve students in the report writing process. At Nahoon Montessori School we discussed what we would be saying in the report with the child concerned, and invited their input. This often gave much deeper insight into learning and children would add items that they wanted to be in the record. We would ask such questions as “what do you feel was your most important learning this term?” or “what areas do you feel you would like to put more effort into next year?” The resulting input was often thoughtful. Children’s responses to our questions about where they felt they could have done better, or where they might be a little disappointed with their own progress were often way more critical than any teacher might have verbalized. Children also raised issues that were important to them, but which teachers may not have notices. One child, for example, asked that the following be included as her most important learning achievement for the term: “I don’t lose my temper so much anymore. I am starting to understand why other children avoid me, and am working on that.” Children are thus able to set their own goals and assess their own progress in a very personal and meaningful way.


correcting spelling and grammar but focus on expressing what you know about an individual child’s learning. You will find the reports become easier as you go along. After the writing rehearsal you sit down to write the actual reports. Refer to all the data you have collected. If you have annotated your daily observations with reporting in mind, and pre-selected photographs, then the job is much easier. School formats Firstly, design a layout that will work for the whole school. This should include:

ments that cannot be objectively substantiated or which may be misleading or easily misunderstood. For example, avoid making statements such as: “She has demonstrated to us that she is bright and developmentally above her peers” or “He is developmentally far behind his agegroup.” Ensure that you are absolutely certain (through formal testing) before making a statement like "she is a gifted student.” It is best to avoid any judgments or labeling as far as possible. Certainly never draw attention to any learning barrier or challenging behavior in a report before bringing these to the parent’s attention in a face-to-face meeting.

 The School’s full details: Name,  

full address and telephone number. Title of report: e.g. Narrative Report of Progress Child's name, present class or age level, the teachers name, and the date of the report. A general outline for the opening paragraphs – i.e. what is to be included in the introduction for all children. A sequence of topics or general areas you have decided upon according to the process described elsewhere in this article. A rough outline for the concluding paragraphs.

The writing process

Some words of warning

When compiling narrative reports for the first time, start with a writing rehearsal in which the whole faculty particpates. Teachers work together and practice writing a few paragraphs with the suggested reference points and the lists as a resource. Read one another’s reports and give feedback. Read the reports from a parent perspective. In this first stage don’t worry too much about

Be careful that you don't put something down in writing that will come back to haunt you. We've all heard of parents who are very upset to find that their child is less advanced than they were led to believe from the reports at their last school, or who spend their vacation worrying about statements by the teacher to the effect that the child might have some serious disorder. Avoid making state-

Sometimes parents are offended by the most innocent statements. While one family may be happy to have their child described as “sensitive” another may take it as an insult. Focusing on observable actions or specific instances is better. “Jane often seems upset when other children do not pay attention to what she is saying” is more useful than saying “Jane is a sensitive child.” School ethos Narrative reports often say more about your school than they say about the child. For example, if you teach in a two-teacher classroom, statements such as “In my class, I feel, …” suggest that your co-teacher is not part of the team. Pay attention to choosing words and expressions that represent the character that the school wishes to project. Avoid referring to the winter holidays as the “Christmas Break.” It can offend people who are not Christian. Where possible avoid educational jargon. While some parents may understand,

© Mo n tesso r i L ea de r sh i p | w | DEC 2012

Mid – Year Progress Report

Name: Julia Judith van Zyl

Date of Birth: 6 March 2008 • Language Development


• Social Development

Julia has settled into the school very quickly and is completely at home here now. She has blossomed and really gown in confidence since the beginning of the year. She is an affectionate, loving child who is polite and sensible and is also considerate towards her friends. Julia interacts with others in a variety of contexts, negotiating plans and activities and taking turns in conversations. She has a great spirit and is a delight to have in class.

Julia is a typical four year old who is very interested in social interactions and she spends a lot of time learning the social and emotional skills necessary for developing and maintaining friendships. She is well liked and is developing a large circle of friends. Julia is learning how to express her needs and feelings when dealing with a conflict situation. She is even tempered child with an easy going nature. She knows how to graciously wait for her turn.

Physical Development Julia’s gross motor skills are developing steadily and she moves with balance and coordination when running, climbing or jumping. Her fine motor skills continue to develop and she displays good dexterity when writing, drawing and cutting. She is willing to try most activities after she has observed and knows what will be expected of her. Julia rarely rushes into anything without due consideration.

Socio-Emotional Development • Work Habits Julia is able to choose her own activities and can move from one activity to the next seldom requiring redirection. When something interests her she is attentive during presentations and is eager to learn. She will generally choose activities she knows she can easily complete. Julia’s concentration is still developing and she can be easily distracted by her friends. She grasps concepts quickly and is a logical thinker. She is generally friends with older children,

Age: 4 years 4 months

Intellectual Development

Julia’s speech is clear and distinct; she is confident with spoken language and enjoys taking part in conversations where she shows an awareness of the listener. Her vocabulary continues to grow and she is able to follow simple instructions with ease. She makes good contributions to discussions in class and often asks questions. Julia is becoming aware of sounds in language called phonemic awareness and she can confidently identify the beginning and end sounds of a word when playing ‘I spy a game we use to develop this skill. Julia has started to work through the sandpaper letters which link the symbol to the sound and is practising her letter formation in the sand tray. She is interested in writing her name.

• Practical LifeEmo

• Mathematics

Julia has done work in the practical life area but prefers to help with real everyday activities like when they made their own lemonade in class and preparing snack. She also enjoyed brass polishing.

Julia has been gaining her mathematical knowledge through her work with the sensorial materials but is also working more formally in the maths area. She is learning the numerals and can confidently identify 1-5 and understands the concept of zero. She counts with good one to one correspondence. The fractions interested Julia and she learnt the terminology of a whole, a half, a third and a quarter.

• Sensorial In the sensorial area Julia has done a variety of work but has mainly been interested in working with the form and shape materials. She enjoyed exploring the 3 dimensional geometric solids and learnt some of their names. She can confidently name the sphere, cube, ovoid and triangular pyramid. Julia has worked extensively with the geometric cabinet and shows good visual consistency when matching the shape to the solid and broad outlined cards. She is able to name the basic shapes confidently. The constructive triangles caught her attention (these are boxes of triangles which are used to construct other geometric shapes). Julia has spent time mastering the power of 2 cube as well as the binomial cube; she enjoyed the story of the three kings when trying to build the trinomial cube. She is able to match and name all the 11 colours in colour box 2. She explored her sense of touch and refined it further by working with matching the textures of different papers. The smelling bottles have been enjoyed by Julia this term.

Ruth Hodgkinson

Martin Pinchen x



and possibly appreciate technical terms such as “developmentally appropriate”, “normalized”, and “sensitive periods,” most relate better to comments that are stated simply and clearly. If you do use technical terms, be sure to explain them clearly or use examples that will help parents understand what you mean. Technicalities Just like in college, select a style manual and follow it consistently. If your school is large, then compile a school style sheet for all teachers to use. Be consistent in capitalizing the areas of the curriculum. Normally school subject names are not capitalized. It is critical to have a time-line in place for editing, printing and signing procedures. It cannot be overemphasized that this process should start early. Narrative reports are a formal record of a child’s progress through school. It is thus

• Cultural Studies Julia has shown interest in learning about people, places and animals from other continents and cultures. She particularly enjoyed the horse classification work we prepared. She is confident about naming the parts of the horse and particularly enjoyed learning about the care of a horse. Julia is able to identify the difference in horse breed and has been introduced to the following breeds: Shire, Hanoverian; Appaloosa and Friesian horse. She has an enquiring mind and is interested in the natural world. Her general knowledge increases daily and she eagerly shares interesting titbits which she has learnt.

• Creative Art is an area where Julia enjoys working and finds complete renewal. She can often be seen drawing, cutting, gluing or painting with the watercolours. Work with the stencils, inks and sewing has also been fascinating for her. Julia’s most challenging work this term was learning to knit; she grasped the concept quickly and had soon knitted her own glove.


essential that each one is carefully written and reviewed by your colleagues and administrator. Go over each other's narrative reports, preferably in a face-to-face work session, and tactfully and gently suggest improvements in each other's work. Watch out for typographical errors, mistakes in punctuation, and double-spacing between words. Parents tend to judge a school quite harshly if reports come home with misspelled words. Spell-check everything, but remember that computer software can be stupid. It takes a human proofreader to catch many mistakes. Every writer needs an editor and proofreader. It is often difficult to pick up errors in your own work. Have the 3 – 6 teachers read the reports of the elementary classes and vice versa. Have a non-Montessorian read the reports to ensure that they will be intelligible to parents. Obviously this person must be a staff member who has the necessary clearance to read confidential documents.

Kym van Straaten Principal


All reports are then read and signed by the school principal and the class teacher. It does take time, but the results will make the investment worthwhile. Remember that this is not just a report, it enriches your assessments, informs future action and ultimately increases student retention. References: Eisner. E. W. (1985) The Art if Educational Evaluation: A Personal View. London and Philadelphia, PA: Falmer. Max-Neef, M. (1991) Human Scale Development. Conception, Application and Further Reflections. New York and London: Apex Press.

This article forms part of the Montessori Leadership Institute’s course on Authentic Montessori Recording, Reporting and Assessment, part of the series on Montessori Curriculum Planning and Implementation to be launched early in 2013.

DE C 2 0 1 2 | w w w. m o n | © Mont essori L ea de rship



& False

Diagnosis by Amina Elshishini


n many countries bilingualism is a steadily growing phenomenon that shapes and affects the learning process of children at homes and schools. The most popular second languages in Egypt are English, French, and German. Many parents prefer their children to be schooled in a foreign language rather than their native, mother tongue. Being fully bilingual is an important target in such environments because it is considered of value academically. Although becoming bilingual seems easy, living in a multilingual home or environment affects the learning process. It may result in insufficient language skills and can hinder academic achievement. Landon (2001) suggested that bilingualism should be accommodated and recognized by the school in relation to culture and language, to ensure literacy development in both languages in order to be inclusive of bilingual learners. (Landon, 2001, cited in Reid, 2009), The early identification of reading difficulties for facilitating the developmental process of reading skills acquisition ensures the effectiveness of intervention and applies equally to bilingual and monolingual children. Later identification of reading difficulties in children may result in academic delays that influence the social and emotional status of children. Diagnosing a monolingual


child with dyslexia is rather a complex matter. More so in the case of bilingual children. (Hutchinson et al, 2004)

References: Bus, A. and Van Ljzendoorn, M.H. (1999) 'Phonological awareness and early reading: a meta-analysis of experimental training studies', Journal of Educational

Predicting a learning difficulty and diagnosing it as dyslexia can be inconsistent if the school or the learning environment is not fit to accommodate bilingual learners and cannot meet assessment requirements. Administering assessment on a bilingual learner might be insufficient to detect signs of dyslexia, because matters of language and culture need to be taken into consideration. (Landon, 2001, cited in Reid, 2009)

Psychology, 91 (3) pp403-414. Cain, K. (2010). Reading Development and Difficulties.UK: The British Psychological Society and Blackwell Publishing Ltd. Dockrell, J.E. (2001) “Assessing language skills in preschool children', Child Psychiatry and Psychiatry Review, 6 (2) pp74-85. Gathercole, S.E., (2006) 'Working memory in children with reading disabilities' in Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 93(3), pp265-281 Hutchinson, J, M., Whiteley, H, E. Smith, C. Connors, L. The Early Identification of Dyslexia: Children with

Collecting, gathering, and analyzing a bilingual learner’s background information are vital procedures that have to be done before administering any testing battery. This will help with the selection process of the assessment tools required for identifying a specific learning difficulty. The assessor should be familiar with both languages of the bilingual learner to obtain easy communication and to be able to translate parts of the assessment whenever the learner seems to be struggling due to a language barrier. (Cline and Shamsi, 2000)

English as an Additional Language.Department of Psychology, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, PR1 2HE, UK Reid, G. (2009). Dyslexia A Practitioner’s Handbook Fourth Edition. England: John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Reid, G. & Wearmouth, J. (2002). Dyslexia and Literacy Theory and Practice. England: John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Rose,J.(2009) Identifying and Teaching Children and young people with dyslexia and Literacy difficulties Snowling, M.J. & Hulme, C. (2005).The Science of Reading A Handbook.UK: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Amina Elshishiny is currently an MA student at the Institute of Education University of London,

To sum up, being able to detect and diagnose a learning difficulty in a bilingual learner’s second language can be a challenging procedure. Two common errors must be avoided: The first is to misdiagnose a certain learning difficulty that can be the outcome of a changing environment, or social and emotional status, such as dyslexia, which is called the false positive labeling. (Frost, 2000) The second, is missing the manifestations of developmental dyslexia when present, resulting in the failure to suggest the proper intervention, which is called false negative labeling. (Frost, 2000)

studying Psychology and Human Development and specializing in Special and Inclusive Education. Her BA graduation project focused on initiating and managing a complex of three international and boarding schools operating under the Montessori system. Afterwards she obtained the Montessori Assistants Certificate. Simultaneously she volunteered and attended educational courses that targeted Child Development, Learning and Education. She recently launched a blog tackling topics pertaining to Fine Motor and Visual/Perceptual Motor Development for infants and Toddlers; Writing Preparation for Infants, Toddlers, and Preschoolers; among other related issues.

© Mo n tesso r i L ea de r sh i p | w | DEC 2012

Congratulations to the International Montessori School of Hong Kong


hen a school voluntarily chooses to become accredited with the IMC, a very lengthy and reflective process of self evaluation that involves the entire community is undertaken. Schools have different reasons for seeking accreditation, but one of the main reasons is to gain the public trust. An accredited school shows the community that it has undergone a very vigorous process and has been evaluated by a group of their peers to ensure that their message is clear and represents Montessori best practices.

When the school was notified of it's accreditation, this is what they had to say about the IMC:

It is with great pleasure that we are announcing that the International Montessori School of Hong Kong has been accepted as an IMCAccredited School by the entire commission. The school worked very hard to achieve this distinction, and we are delighted to award them their accreditation certificate. Congratulations to Anne Sawyer and Karin Ann, the co founders of the school and the entire population of the school (close to 600 students!) on obtaining this credential.

Dear Tim, Thank you so much for all that you have done for Montessori, and we are delighted and honored to be admitted as an accredited IMC school.   We have been so incredibly impressed by the experience and insights of the IMC accreditation team, and feel so privileged to have new friends with such warmth and passion. 

Washington MontEssoRi institutE at LoyoLa univERsity MaRyLand

Minds aBsoRB & EXPLoRE Developing minDs thrive through spontaneous interaction with the environment. Discovery occurs through the senses anD the imagination. we are preparing the next generation of montessori eDucators to make a Difference in the lives of chilDren.

Thank you for the support. We are very much looking forward to meeting you in person, and hope to welcome you to our school soon!

learn more about our primary anD elementary acaDemic year programs

www.loyola.eDu/montessori · 410-617-7777

Warmest regards,

in AffiliAtion with AssociAtion Montessori internAtionAle

Anne, Karin, Nicolette & IMS Team

School of Education

DE C 2 0 1 2 | w w w. m o n | © Mont essori L ea de rship


“Money doesn’t grow on trees.” — Parenting adage

by Maren Schmidt


inancial security is one of the long-term goals parents wish for their children. Being financially secure has connotations of knowing how to make money, how to save money, and how to use money to help others. Financially secure suggests that we have a realistic expectation about the amount of work it takes to make a living while being aware of the traps and pitfalls that might become financial hardships. The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE, pronounced “nifty”) is geared for student ages 11 to 18 years. An international program, NFTE has had a dramatic effect on helping junior high and high school students learn what it means to start and run a small business, and thus allowing these young people to take control of their lives. Started in 1987 by Steve Marotti, NFTE has helped over 80,000 students learn about becoming financially savvy by starting and working in their own small business. How does it work? In some programs, each student may apply for a loan of $25 to $100 to establish his or her business


after a business plan has been formulated and approved. As the students provide services, create products or resale merchandise, they learn basic accounting. Every month each student is required to create an Income and Expense Statement along with a Balance Sheet. Students are also required to give 10 percent of earnings to a charity, and to pay and budget for taxes.

ness — What? Nobody bought your water today? Customers didn’t pay? Somebody stole your merchandise? — are joined together in a group effort of a community garden based business.

As students become conversant about the financial aspects of running their business and, thus, their lives, these young entrepreneurs become ready to create or join a school-based business.

Through entrepreneurship, students discover that what they are learning at school has real-world relevancy. NFTE students find out that money doesn’t grow on trees, but on tomato and pepper plants, and through the busy-ness of their own minds and efforts. With their NFTE experience, students understand that a method of creating wealth and a wonderful life can grow with entrepreneurial spirit and skills.

A Harvard Graduate School of Education longitudinal study of NFTE students in six Boston high schools shows that NFTE participants are increasing their leadership and self-starter skills. NFTE participants are more likely to increase their career aspirations over the course of the school year in comparison to the study’s control group. At Youth Opportunities Unlimited (Y.O.U) a NFTE affiliate in Cleveland, Ohio, students create individual small businesses — from the more traditional services such as babysitting and lawn care, to florists, selling camo-gear, to selling cold bottled water at the Zoo. These personal experiences, with the up and down realities of running a busi-

The E-city entrepreneurs sell fresh vegetables from the garden and bottle salsa and spaghetti sauce made from their homegrown produce.

For more information visit and Maren Stark Schmidt, an award winning teacher and writer, founded a Montessori school and holds a Masters of Education from Loyola College in Maryland as well as elementary credentials from the Association Montessori Internationale. She writes the weekly syndicated column, Kids Talk and is author of Understanding Montessori: A Guide for Parents. Contact her at and visit

© Mo n tesso r i L ea de r sh i p | w | DEC 2012

by Hildy Gottlieb Introduction by Sharon Caldwell

INTRODUCTION I recently read this post from Hildy Gottlieb, the co-founder of an inspiring organization called Creating the Future. While Hildy’s work is focused on supporting non-profits and not specifically schools, much of what she teachers and writes resonates with our work in Montessori Schools. The first paragraph on the home page of is pure Montessori:

[ delete-mission-statement-website] Please read it. (John is SO smart!) John’s post comes at a good time for me, as we are thinking about our own mission statement for Creating the Future. (Like our name had been for years – the Community-Driven Institute – our current mission statement is a placeholder…)

“At Creating the Future, our vision is a world that functions from humanity’s highest potential – a world that is healthy, vibrant, compassionate, resilient and at peace.”

When I teach the difference between Mission and Vision, I have always shared an easy formula for a mission statement. “To accomplish our vision, we do _____ for ______ people in the _____ region.”

Hildy’s enthusiasm and wisdom always inspires, so when we read her recent blog post about mission statements we simply felt we had to share it.

Lately, though, we are re-thinking that. If in plain English we see a mission as something we set out to accomplish, that is very different than merely a statement of what we do.

We are excited about how the four statements suggested by Hildy Gottlieb could be adapted in Montessori Schools. Could this approach help widen our focus from simply running schools as businesses to see ourselves as instruments of community transformation? Entirely Rethinking Mission Statements My friend John Haydon’s recent post really has me thinking. The post was titled Why You Should Delete The Mission Statement On Your Website.

A statement of what we do lacks movement, lacks will, lacks force. It assumes that we are providing an ongoing service. And that’s when it hits me. This is another remnant from the business world! The business world has given us the definition of Vision Statement as “the picture of the future of the organization.” That is fine if you are a business with the goal of self-perpetuation, but not so much if your reason for being is to cre-

ate a better community. So for years, we have insisted that the vision for a Community Benefit Organization is for the future of the community, not the organization. Now it is occurring to me that using the Mission Statement as a statement of what we do to get closer to the vision is simply another piece of that. If your organization’s vision is self-perpetuation, then yes, the mission is to keep doing that. But that is not the definition of an organization that is reaching its potential to change conditions and create the future of our communities. It is the definition of a service provider! To simultaneously provide service AND change conditions in our communities, an organization’s mission must be about accomplishing something! We must be able to use the word the way plain English suggests. Not “What will you do?” but What will you accomplish? For whom? What will you be changing? What will be better? And yes, by when? Mission is about what you will accomplish for your community in the short term! For Creating the Future, we are focusing on “Our mission for the next 5-10 years.” That mission is to have the way

DE C 2 0 1 2 | w w w. m o n | © Mont essori L ea de rship


this sector does its work ALL be aligned behind improving community conditions. Governance, planning, program development, funding – we intend to see it all change, to align behind our potential to change the world. And we intend to accomplish that in 5 years.

t The Montessori Foundation, we regularly receive queries regarding policies for relationships between staff and parents. Many school heads express concerns over issues ranging from staff being “friends” with parents on Facebook, to babysitting for school families, to … in some cases, actual romantic involvements.

Vision Statement What will the community be like when you are 100% successful?

The issues span those which are merely internal or personal preferences,to those matters which are dictated by legislation and regulations. What is unethical and what is simply bad form?

Mission Statement What community conditions will you change in the short term, to take steps towards making that vision a reality?

As a starting point, we would say that every school should have a set of clearly worded policies, which spell out the “non-negotiables.” These are shared with any prospective teacher before hiring, and any person not prepared to comply would probably not be a good match for your school.

Values Statement What beliefs and assumptions will guide your work? How will your decisions and actions model your vision and values to the others? And lastly,

In many businesses there are clear understandings about what types of interactions employees can have with clients. While it may not be relevant if the burger flipper in a fast-food outlet dates a regular customer, a Montessori school teacher would be regarded as being somewhat unethical if she dated the father of a child in her class.

Program Statement What services are you providing/actions are you taking to accomplish that shortterm mission?

On the other hand, no business can really dictate what staff members do in their free time. Or can they? While businesses cannot restrict who staff members interact with, they most certainly can set boundaries on what types of services can be rendered, or what can be discussed over coffee. An accountant working for a firm of Chartered Accountants cannot agree to, in his spare time, do the books of a subsidiary of a major client. He cannot discuss the financial statements of one client with a life-long friend who just happens to work for another accounting firm. That would be considered unethical and may even be considered grounds for termination of services.

And now I’m getting excited at what this simple change of language makes possible. What would change in your organization if your mission were about the community changes you intended to see become reality in five years? I am giggling at the possibilities!!!


by Sharon Caldwell

And so our mission is not to DO the work of programs, but to actually accomplish some visible change! To see things be different in this sector. Dramatically different. In 5-10 years. From there, we will develop programs that will accomplish that mission. So maybe, John, we need a fourth statement.


While it is understandable that parents would approach a teacher they know and trust to babysit for them, and while in many instances there may be no problem, there are many pitfalls to this type of arrangement. When the child is at school, it is very clear what each role is. The parent is the customer, the teacher the employ-

© Mo n tesso r i L ea de r sh i p | w | DEC 2012

ee, employed by the head of school. The school is the provider of the service. The teacher is answerable to the head of school, is bound by the school’s code of conduct and by legislation. The child knows and understands the relationship, too, and the rules of the classroom are clear to all concerned. When the teacher babysits, she is answerable to the parent. “House rules” apply — not school rules. In respect to confidentiality, it takes a very firm will and clear vision of boundaries for a parent not to be tempted to “talk shop” – asking about how the child behaves at school, how the child is progressing, and so on. Similarly, it is difficult for a teacher, especially a younger, inexperienced teacher, not to be drawn into comparisons and inappropriate discussions with the parent about the school. Generally people who run Montessori schools are kind and caring people, who tend to avoid very businesslike arrangements. This can lead to trouble when either staff or parents overstep the invisible line, and one party or the other feels betrayed or used. This can lead to a rapid degeneration of the relationship between the school and the family, with the teacher in the middle (and the child as the victim in most cases). One way to avoid potential problems is to have clear policies in place, as discussed above. These policies are communicated clearly to parents and staff, and are printed in the staff and parent handbooks. Instead of blanket embargoes on babysitting, for example, it may be realistic to have a requirement that such arrangements are disclosed. Furthermore, very specific guidelines are given to parents and staff regarding issues of confidentiality. While parents may be keen to find out just a little more about what is going on at school, they may not be comfortable about personal family details being discussed in the staff room. Hence, staff members must understand that they will need to

compartmentalize the two separate roles and treat information gained in each venue as discreet and separate. They will then undertake not to discuss the child’s home life in staff meetings, any more than they would discuss confidential school issues with the parent. All well and good. But what if the home situation is impacting on the child’s life at school? If the teacher knows something that is relevant, is she not required (possibility even by law) to disclose that information? Because laws vary from state to state, country to country, schools should take the time to get appropriate legal advice on these issues. Another problem that arises is that teachers may form a closer, or at least different, relationship with the children they interact with outside of school. Other children in the class will sense this difference no matter how hard the teacher may work at avoiding favoritism. There may also be financial and legal implications for the teacher and the school. If, for example, a teacher agrees to give a child a ride home, the school may be liable should there be an accident, as the teacher is an employee of the school. What happens if there is a disagreement or falling out between the teacher and the family, but then the teacher still needs to have this child in her class at school? There are many more implications to this type of relationship than might be obvious upfront. We don’t recommend regulating all staff connections to parents. Rather, we suggest you focus on hiring the right teachers and helping your staff to keep talking about what appropriate ethical behavior means for your school, putting in writing which lines simply cannot be crossed. Exactly what those lines are will differ from one school to another, but it is important to clearly define where they are for your school.

DE C 2 0 1 2 | w w w. m o n | © Mont essori L ea de rship




IN JAPAN : Japanese Mothers' Perceptions by Fumiko Fukuhara & Kiyoko Okuyama Department of Child Welfare, Notre Dame Seishin University, Okayama, Japan

History of Montessori in Japan Over the last 100 years, the Montessori philosophy has spread to nations around the world, and Japan is no exception. The first introduction of Montessori education into Japanese society is believed to have been an article entitled “Yorozuchouhou,” published in a Japanese newspaper on January 11, 1912. Kiyomaru Kono, who started translating several of Montessori’s books into Japanese around 1915, put this method into practice in his elementary school in Tokyo. The proliferation of Montessori schools in Japan, however, did not begin until approximately twenty years after World War II, around the period of the so called “Montessori revival.” In 1964, Tsuneyoshi Tsuzumi adapted his daycare center in Kyoto to practice the Montessori Method. Fr. Heidrich, Professor of Sophia University, started “Umeda Children’s House” with eight children in Tokyo in 1965. In 1968, he was one of several committee members who helped to establish Japan Association Montessori (JAM). JAM is the largest association of Montessori education in Japan, currently consisting of about 700 teachers, with membership being open to any Montessori teachers. JAM has also certified several Montessori


teacher-training programs by investigating the programs’ compliance with their criteria. In spite of these efforts, the number of certified programs is still small, most likely due to the complicated and time-consuming certification process. As of 2010, only six programs have been certified by JAM. Another significant development in Japanese Montessori history, was the establishment of an international teacher-training center accredited by the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) by Ms. Shizuko Matsumoto in 1975. Ms. Matsumoto was the first Japanese AMI certified Montessori trainer and her training center, The Montessori Institute of Tokyo, continues to train teachers in the Tokyo area. Now there are two more AMI accredited training courses, one in Yokohama and another in Osaka. Some international schools,

Maur International School and Seisen International School are examples of these. The Montessori School of Tokyo is the only Montessori school in Japan with an elementary program, accepting students aged two to twelve years old. This school is directed by Pete Juds and is only the school in Japan that is fully accredited by the International Montessori Council (IMC). In this school, all Montessori teachers are accredited by AMI training centers, including Japanese training centers. Our Training Program There are many other Montessori teacher-training programs that are independent of JAM. Our program is independent of JAM, although it is accredited by the university, with 309 university students having been trained to date. Notre Dame Seishin Kindergarten was

Figure 1. Photograph of Sister Christina Marie Trudeau (center) and Kiyoko Okuyama (right) giving a lecture to University students in our Montessori teacher training course.

which are not bound by Japanese government regulations, have successfully implemented Montessori classrooms at the 3-6 age, while offering traditional education from 1st to 12th grade. St

founded in 1965 as part of the university, although the Kindergarten did not use the Montessori Method in the beginning. Our university developed an interest in this method after it was intro-

© Mo n tesso r i L ea de r sh i p | w | DEC 2012

duced by Mrs. Kiyoko Okuyama, who had earned a Montessori Diploma in a specialized program at the College of Notre Dame, Belmont, CA (USA) in 1969. Our university invited Sr. Christina Marie Trudeau, who was a vicepresident of professional development for the American Montessori Society (AMS) at that time, to present many lectures on Montessori education across Japan between 1970 and 1981. With the aid of Sr. Trudeau, Mrs. Okuyama, and university president Sr. St. John Watanabe, our Montessori teacher-training program was established in 1971. Sr. Trudeau presented several lectures on the program each year through 1995 (Figure1). With the establishment of our training program, Montessori education was introduced in Notre Dame Seishin Kindergarten. Our Kindergarten currently has nine classes with approximately 25-30 students each, including three classes for each age from age three to five. Although a regular Kindergarten accredited by the Japanese government is advised to form separate classes for each age, we opened a “Montessori Children’s Room,” where children of any age can enter, every morning for the practice of Montessori education, and there, two Montessori teachers work exclusively in that room. Usually, there are more than thirty mixed-age children, at least 10 children of each age, in the room doing self-chosen work for approximately four hours a day. Mrs. Fumiko Fukuhara, who holds an AMI diploma for Primary education, has organized this room for five years. Our Montessori teacher-training program is only open to senior students at the university. Several students enroll in the program every year. In that program, hands-on practice is held in the Montes-

Figure 2. Summary of answers to Question 1, which asked when mothers first recognized the term, Montessori education.

Figure 3. Summary of answers to Question 3, which assessed the distribution of mothers who find that any of their children’s abilities do not differ relative to mothers who have read any Montessori-related book (Yes in Question 2) or have not (No in Question 2).

sori Children’s Room, and lectures are held at the university. Training lasts for one year and includes 180 hours of lectures and 90 hours of practice teaching. The examination is held at the end of the program and those that pass obtain certification from our university. We recognize that these requirements of our program are not sufficient as Montessori teacher training; however, there are other credits to be taken for university students, so the limitation as a university curriculum exists. We consider our program as an introductory course for Montessori education, and students who want to become Montessori teachers are advised to take additional accredited Montessori courses to obtain certification, such as those offered by AMI or AMS.

that Montessori education continues to be less popular in Japan than in other countries, such as the United States, where it is estimated that more than 5,000 schools use the program.1 It is necessary for Japanese Montessori educators to determine the factors that impede the spread of this educational philosophy in Japan, and one of the possible factors may be the attitude of parents in Japan toward Montessori education.

Questionnaires to Japanese Parents Regarding Montessori With these Japanese independent programs, including ours, the number of Montessori teachers is gradually increasing in Japan. However, we should note

We have conducted an investigation by analyzing questionnaires distributed to parents whose children were enrolled in the Montessori class in Notre Dame Seishin kindergarten. The questionnaire includes five items (original questions were in Japanese). In order to decrease gender bias, all answers were collected from mothers (no child in our school was in the care of a single father). Question 1 was: When did you know the term Montessori education? which was intended to clarify the time when mothers first recognized the term Montessori education, regardless of the depth of understanding. Question 2 was: Have you ever read a book relating to Montessori

DE C 2 0 1 2 | w w w. m o n | © Mont essori L ea de rship


It should be striking for US Montessori teachers that only 22.6 percent of mothers had heard about Montessori before having their child, and only 5.7 percent of the mothers (those who had read multiple books) were considered to understand Montessori education well. education? which reflected the percentage of mothers who had read at least one article on Montessori education, showing how many mothers understand, to some extent, what Montessori education is. Question 3 was: Did you notice any abilities of your child in the Montessori class that you had ever not realized? and Question 4 was: If yes in Q3, what did you notice? Finally, Question 5 was: Which area of work do you want to practice with your child at home? Questions 3-5 deal with the impressions of mothers when they first see their child in a Montessori class. Before the observation day, mothers attended a short lecture that outlined the basics of Montessori education, including self-chosen work classified into five areas: practical life, sensorial, mathematics, language, and culture. We also introduced some materials used in the class such as the pink


Table 1. Children’s Abilities Noticed by Mothers during Montessori Class Observation Concentration 89 Perseverance 41 Ability to self-choose 24 Being careful 15 Ability to put materials in order 13 Originality 11

(Answers to Question 4) (42.0%) (19.3%) (11.3%) (7.1%) (6.1%) (5.2%)

Numbers in parentheses are percentages in a population of 212 children. Multiple answers were allowed. Table 2. Areas of Work that Mothers Want to Practice with their Children at Home (Answers to Question 5) Practical life 146 (68.9%) Language 20 (9.4%) Geography 19 (9.0%) Sensorial material 11 (5.2%) Mathematics 10 (4.7%) Numbers in parentheses are percentages in a population of 212 children. Multiple answers were allowed. tower, a binomial cube, number rods and maps. After the mothers observed their child in a Montessori classroom for approximately two hours, the questionnaire was passed out to them. The answers were collected on the same day. Of 246 mothers with three-year-old children in our Montessori class, 212 (86.2 percent) responded; 74 (34.9 percent) had boys; and 138 (65.1 percent) had girls. The answers to Question 1 are shown in Figure 2. Only 22.6 percent of mothers recognized the term Montessori education before giving birth to their child. Approximately half of mothers (47.2 percent), first heard the term when they started seeking a Kindergarten for their child. For Question 2, 86 mothers (40.6 percent) had read some books on Montessori education. However, 36 of these could not recall

the name of any specific books. Only 12 mothers (5.7 percent) had read more than two books, and these mothers can be regarded as having a strong interest in Montessori education. After observing their children participating in the class, 172 mothers (81.1 percent) noticed one or more abilities in their children of which they were previously unaware. This impression was independent of mothers’ prior understanding of Montessori education, since there was no significant difference between mothers who had read some books and those who had not (Figure 3, p=0.52 by chisquare test). The abilities they found during the class (answer to Question 4) are summarized in Table 1. Although the answers were not from pre-set, multiple-choice questions, they frequently pointed out core

Š Mo n tesso r i L ea de r sh i p | w | DEC 2012

features of Montessori education. As for the area they hope to practice with their child at home, shown in Table 2, the majority (68.9 percent) mentioned practical life, which was considerable for mothers of three-year-old children. They might have felt that mathematics (4.7 percent) was too early or sensorial materials (5.2 percent) was too difficult at home, although they had more interest in geography (9.0 percent) and language (9.4 percennt). Perceptions of Montessori in Japan It should be striking for US Montessori teachers that only 22.6 percent of mothers had heard about Montessori before having their child, and only 5.7 percent of the mothers (those who had read multiple books) were considered to understand Montessori education well. Moreover, the rate reported here may be somewhat higher than that in the general population, because mothers who have enrolled their child in our Kindergarten, a private and Catholic-based one, may have a higher educational and economic background. However, these results are not surprising to Montessori educators in Japan, who usually find many difficulties in promoting this philosophy in our society. Even with this low understanding of Montessori education, we are proud that mothers generally have favorable appraisals of Montessori education when they see it, regardless of their pre-existing level of understanding. This shows that Montessori education has the potential to become much more popular in our society if we act properly. We believe that the potential for accepting the Montessori philosophy in Japan is no less similar to the understanding of Montessori in other countries. Montessori educators in Japan are re-

sponsible for determining why understanding of this educational philosophy remains limited, in spite of the efforts of leading Montessori educators in Japan. There are several barriers impeding the spread of this philosophy. Importantly, we should analyze the effect of Japanese traditional educational structures, such as same-age classrooms, which are defined by Japanese government curriculum guidelines. Under these guidelines, Elementary schools cannot organize mixed-age education, which is the centerpiece of Montessori education. As for Kindergartens or pre-schools, Japanese government guidelines still advice to form the same-age classrooms, although attending these schools is not compulsory. In order to be approved by the Japanese government, many Kindergartens are reluctant to have mixed-age classrooms. It also affects the structures of Kindergarten and pre-schools, making mixed-age classes difficult in many schools. However, even with these government-recommended guidelines, which are not compulsory for Kindergartens or pre-schools, many Montessori educators organized Montessori schools with mixed-age classes throughout Japan, although they are not certified by any authorized Montessori organizations. Several other factors also seems to exist. In Japan, all children are expected to meet the national curriculum standards.2 This may conflict with a major aim of Montessori education: to promote individual abilities. Another obstacle is the small number of Montessori teachers in Japan, a problem that likely results, in part, from the fact that many Japanese female workers leave their jobs after marriage. One must also consider the possibility that difficulty translating this educational philosophy into Japanese may also be a factor. However, this

latter concern should not be overestimated, because Montessori education is carried out in many countries in many different languages. Although we face several barriers, Montessori education is progressing steadily in this country. The high levels of parent satisfaction we see for our classes leads us to be optimistic about the future. The number of trained teachers is increasing, and we are sure that Japan will not be the exception to the “Borderless-Montessori-World.” Acknowlegement: Authors express special thanks to Sr. Christina Marie Trudeau for helpful comments and editorial assistance. References: 1

Lillard, A. & Else-Quest, N. (2006). “The

Early Years: Evaluating Montessori Education.” Science, 313, 1893-1894. 2

New York State Education Department

(1992). “A Cross-cultural Comparison of

the American and Japanese Education Systems.”

Fumiko Fukuhara received her master’s degree in education at Loyola College in Maryland in 2000 and holds an AMI diploma for Primary education. She is currently an assistant professor at the Department of Child Welfare at Notre Dame Seishin University, Okayama, Japan. She is a director of a Montessori teacher-training program for the university and also works as an instructor of a Montessori class in Notre Dame Seishin Kindergarten. Kiyoko Okuyama is an ex-professor of the same department and was a chief manager of the Montessori teacher-training program at Notre Dame Seishin University. Send correspondence to: Fumiko Fukuhara, M.Ed., Department of Child Welfare, Notre Dame Seishin University, 2-16-9 Ifukucho, Okayama, 700-8516, JAPAN; email: torufk@

DE C 2 0 1 2 | w w w. m o n | © Mont essori L ea de rship


by Alexandra Wlodkowski, Owner of Dirigo Montesoori School



few months ago, I was fortunate to have discovered Montessori Compass and take part in their free trial. I came across their site and was immediately drawn in when I read, “Don't settle for being the best kept secret in town!” Yes! That's it. For some time I have really felt as if so much

of apprehension. I was so used to the traditional system of my trusty pen, paper, and clipboard to keep track of my student's progress and lessons. But I was compelled to move forward - while these copious notes were useful for me, they were of little use as far as information sharing with parents. Montessori

wonderful learning happens in my classroom, yet parents are often unaware of all that occurs. Despite my efforts in sharing information via my school blog, there remains a portion of my targeted audience (parents of my students) that are missing some very key information. I found myself in the midst of an ongoing quest to bridge this gap and then, I found Montessori Compass! Little did I know how fortuitous this would be not only for the parents of my students, but also for they way I guide my students in the Montessori classroom. Simply put, Montessori Compass is the most comprehensive, user-friendly, online record keeping system available. It is a valuable tool for teachers, administrators, and parents alike. Since I am very much a creature of habit and historically have never responded to well to change, I approached the free trial with a touch

Compass promised to bridge the gap between school and home, and I wanted to experience exactly that! So, I began experimenting with the program by entering student information so that I could track their lessons. My trusty pen and clipboard sat nearby - just in case. Then, one morning, you know the kind - when it seems as if things don't go so well with wandering kids who appear not to make appropriate choices, squandered lessons, and general lack of motivation from the kids - I realized something. I had diligently entered my classroom observations, tracked the children's lessons, and even uploaded the day's photos into their individual albums and there it was, right in front of me - they had a great day and my record keeping on Montessori Compass proved it. I was hooked. And do you know

what else I noticed? My clipboard. It had been sitting, untouched, for several weeks, and I didn't miss it at all! During this time, I also got to know how the lessons are organized and named within the system. One aspect which has been especially user-friendly is the capability to customize lesson names and curriculum headings to fit one's desired order. Admittedly, I am somewhat of a stranger to the latest technological advances and definitely have never considered myself technologically savvy. Here, I must give credit to the reliable support staff which was incredibly helpful in answering my questions as they arose. Working with Montessori Compass has been simple, fun, and a little addicting! I love seeing the results of my hard work and my student's progress in front of me each day. Even more importantly, the information can now available to share with parents. I decided to take it a step further and designated a few parents to be 'demo parents' as I learned the system, specifically how the ‘Activity Reports’ would be reflected on their accounts. In order to maximize benefits for parents, I spent many hours inputting lesson descriptions and uploading photos of materials. Since this time, Montessori Compass has upgraded the system to include its own descriptions and photos of lessons and materials. While I value this added bonus, I appreciate the fact that account users can customize their descriptions and use their own pictures. Now,

© Mo n tesso r i L ea de r sh i p | w | DEC 2012

when parents view their Activity Report (which can be customized to send out daily or weekly), they not only have access to descriptions and purposes of lessons, but also can see a picture of it in our classroom. Over the course of the last couple of months, there has been a positive change in the classroom as I navigate with Montessori Compass. Montessori teachers are constantly observing and making note of each child's progress. We have most likely all said to ourselves, “Oh, (fill in a name) is ready for the Teen Board. I have to remember to give that lesson tomorrow,” only to forget the next day. This problem is completely eliminated with Montessori Compass. When a teacher knows a child is ready for a certain lesson, they can simply enter the lesson plan in the system for a specific date and ‘tag’ the student. As a result, the entered lesson appears on the 'planned lessons' page on the date designated by the teacher - when that date arrives, it's right there in front of you! This makes it nearly impossible to forget a lesson and the best part is, the lesson can simply be rescheduled to another day if needed. Consequently, my students have been progressing more smoothly through the curriculum, at a rate which I have never experienced up until this point. From a teacher's point of view, Montessori Compass has proven to be a valuable tool both in the classroom and for communication with parents. Being the owner of my own school, however, also allows me to utilize the program for administrative purposes. I am constantly on the lookout for ways to improve my school and bring it new levels of excellence. Without a doubt, Montessori Compass will do exactly that. So, I've put away my record keeping clipboard for good and no longer have to “settle for being the best kept secret in town!”

DE C 2 0 1 2 | w w w. m o n | © Mont essori L ea de rship


The montessori l e a de r s h i p collaborative

m eeting in

Washington dc on september 15-16, 2012


he International Montessori Council was pleased to receive the following communiqué from the Montessori Leadership Collaborative. The IMC supports the aim of the collaborative to speak with one voice for Montessori, and will continue to publish any information available about the activities of the Collaborative. Communique The Montessori Leadership Collaborative group members convened in Washington DC on September 15-16, 2012 to continue their work in planning for a more collaborative future for the Montessori movement with the unanimous goal of bringing Montessori to more children in this country. As the makeup of this group is fluid and dynamic, five new participants were invited to join, each of whom brings enormous assets and perspective to the work. They are: Jacquie Cossentino (Senior Associate, National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector), Jennifer Davidson (Executive Director, Montessori Institute Northwest and Chair,Planning Committee for the 2013 International Montessori Congress), John Moncure, (President, Montessori Educational Programs International) Rebecca Pelton (Executive Director, MACTE), and Tim Seldin (President, The Montessori Foundation). Rebecca and Tim have agreed to join but were unable to attend this meeting. A


list of bios for the full list of participants is below. In addition, Megan Tyne, the Executive Director of The Montessori Australia Foundation joined the group as a special guest to act as a resource in sharing the learnings from a similar collaborative leadership process in her country. It was an exciting meeting, which resulted in a deepening relationship between the leaders and an unwavering commitment to collaborate in the work ahead. There is a palpable excitement about the future and its potential, generated by a trust and unified purpose that has been established among the members of the group. There were a number of concrete next steps worth noting here: 1. The McCall Kulak Family Foundation and the McTeague Catalyst Fund continue to act on our behalf in their fundraising efforts and have succeeded in generating interest from a number of grant-making foundations to support Montessori in the US. They will be convening these funders in advance of and during the Congress so that they may learn more and support this work in a strategic and collective way, using the information and goals generated by MLC to inform that strategy. 2. A decision was made to build the capacity of the movement to communicate its work, to gather and engage with media, and to advocate on its own behalf through unified and strategic messaging. The foundations have offered to put a professional in place to do that work with and for the group, with the goal of responding quickly and articulately to media, thought leaders, and governments in a way that elevates the voice of Montessori in all discussions related to education, early childhood development, and more. 3. The group unanimously endorsed a

collaborative research agenda to be led by Stephen Hughes and Jackie Cossentino, who are focusing on a national Montessori census, critical outcomes studies, development of a widely accessible Montessori data set, and more. Other significant directions in early development stages are addressing the need to examine and expand delivery infrastructure, ages 0-6, quality assurance and parent/alumni engagement — all directly related to increasing the reach and effectiveness of Montessori in the US. We will continue to share the progress of the group, and we are thrilled with the potential as demonstrated by all this weekend. Bios Jackie Cossentino is the Senior Associate at the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector. Her 26 years in education have included roles as a middle and high school English teacher, an elementary school principal, a professional developer for schools, districts, and museums, and a professor of educational leadership at the University of Maryland. Jennifer Davidson is the Executive Director of the Montessori Institute Northwest and is a leader in the administration of Montessori teacher training centers in the United States. Steven Hughes PhD, ABPdN is chair of the Association Montessori Internationale global research committee, a lecturer at the Maria Montessori Institute in London, and a member of the board of trustees for the Montessori Institute Northwest, and AMI teacher training center. world. He is the current president of the American Academy of Pediatric Neuropsychology.

© Mo n tesso r i L ea de r sh i p | w | DEC 2012

Jacquie Maughan received her AMI training with Miss Lena Wikramaratne in Palo Alto, California. In 1980 she founded Woodland Montessori School in Spokane, WA and after she and her family moved to Seattle, she founded Pacific Crest School where she continues as head of school. Janet McDonell Janet McDonell is the Director of Training at the Primary level at the Washington Montessori Institute at Loyola University, MD. Aside from her Primary diploma, she also holds diplomas from the Association Montessori Internationale at the Elementary level and for Montessori Special Education. Virginia McHugh is the Executive Director of AMI-USA, the primary operational affiliate in the U.S. of the Association Montessori Internationale, a position that she has held since her appointment in 1988. John Moncure is the President of Montessori Educational Programs International (MEPI). John Moncure served as Headmaster of the Montessori School of Camden, a position he held previously from 1998 to 2004. Rebecca Pelton is the Executive Director of the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE). MACTE serves as the national accreditor for Montessori teacher preparation programs, and is recognized by the US Department of Education. Rebecca has been active in the area of teacher program accreditation for the past 11 years. Sue Pritzker has been Head of School at Childpeace Montessori since 1988, and an AMI Primary level consultant since 1983. She has been President of Oregon Montessori Assoc., and is

currently a founding board member for Montessori Administrator’s Association. Dr. Ginny Riga was the Montessori Coordinator in the Office of School Transformation at the South Carolina Department of Education until November 2011. André Roberfroid, a Belgian national, is the Chair of the Association Montessori Internationale. He was the UNICEF Deputy Executive Director for Programme and Strategic Planning until his retirement in 2003 and was responsible for the formulation and implementation of the UNICEF strategic objectives and programmes. Richard Ungerer is Executive Director of the American Montessori Society (AMS). AMS, since its formation in 1960, has grown to be the largest Montessori organization in the world serving Montessori schools, teacher education programs, and teachers. Trevor Eissler (not attending) is a Montessori parent turned advocate. He has written Montessori Madness! A Parent to Parent Argument for Montessori Education (which has sold over 20,000 copies) and 4,962,571, the first of a series of Montessori-themed children's books targeting mainstream parents, introducing them to Montessori principles, and inviting them to visit their local Montessori school. David Kahn (not attending) is Executive Director of the North American Montessori Teachers' Association. He is a leading implementer of Montessori adolescent projects, including having been Founding Director of both the Ruffing Montessori School East and the Hershey Montessori School Farm adolescent programs, as well as the Montessori High School in University Circle, where he

remains the Executive Director. Mark Powell (not attending) currently teaches 6-12 year-old students at American International Montessori School in Berkeley CA, where his daughter is about to transition from the Infant Community to Children’s House. Tim Seldin (not attending) is the President of The Montessori Foundation and Chair of The International Montessori Council. He has 42 years of experience in Montessori education. John Snyder (not attending) is a school administrator at Austin Montessori School, an AMI school serving children from 15 months to 15 years of age in Austin, Texas. He trained with Dr. Kay Baker at WMI. Megan Tyne (Guest), Project Coordinator, Association Montessori Internationale, works with Montessori organizations throughout the world to bring Montessori education to more children. Conveners Marianna McCall is a Trustee of the McCall Kulak Family Foundation (, and a founding partner in the Education Leadership Forum.  Laurie McTeague is Trustee at the McTeague Catalyst Fund – she is a foundation grantmaker and attorney who is also a founding partner of the Education Leadership Forum and active in state and national education advocacy. Stephanie Miller has been working in the field of strategic philanthropy for 14 years, with a particular interest in family foundations.

DE C 2 0 1 2 | w w w. m o n | © Mont essori L ea de rship


The Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) will host its next International Montessori Congress in   Portland, Oregon USA in 2013. Held every four years, the AMI International Congress has traditionally been all but closed to the wider community of Montessori educators. In a landmark decision, AMI decided to make this next Congress much more inclusive, inviting other Montessori organizations to join with them in creating an international gathering of the world-wide community of Montessori educators. The Montessori Foundation and our affiliated membership organization, the International Montessori Council, are honored to lend our support to the 2013 International Montessori Congress as Cooperating Organizations.  

The Congress will bring together world-renowned speakers, research presentations, and exhibitions on Montessori around the world. The Congress’ theme will be: "Montessori: Guided by Nature."

We encourage you to mark your calendars now to attend two major Montessori Conferences in the next year: The Montessori Foundation and International Montessori Council's 2012 International Conference (The Peace Academy) in Sarasota, Florida November 1-4, 2012, and the 2013 International Montessori Congress in Portland, Oregon USA on July 31-August 3, 2013.

For information about this November’s Montessori Foundation and International Montessori Council’s 2012 International Conference go to For information about the 2013 International Montessori Congress go to


© Mo n tesso r i L ea de r sh i p | w | DEC 2012

No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. — Aesop, The Lion and the Mouse Establishing lasting peace is the work of education; all politics can do is keep us out of war. — Dr. Maria Montessori

Leave a Legacy

Life is a challenge. Most of us need help at some point along the way. Maybe we received a college scholarship from an “angel” benefactor. Maybe a nurse held our hand in the emergency room when we were afraid. Maybe a kind word from a stranger gave us the strength to forgive an injustice. Maybe a teacher recognized our value when we couldn’t see it ourselves. It’s during the hard times that we are reminded that we must continue to demonstrate to children the value in positive acts of human kindness.

Montessori schools, teachers, and children since 1992. Through our leadership workshops, conferences, books, and journals (including Tomorrow’s Child, one copy of which is provided free of Montessori schools do this every day in charge to all Montessori schools in the their classrooms around the world. In US and Canada ), we help bring the benlarge cities and undeveloped countries, efits of Montessori education to schools for more than one hundred years, the big and small. Through our national work of Dr. Maria Montessori has inmodel school, we share everything that spired many thousands of children to we learn and develop with all Montessori live lives of purpose and integrity, know- schools, in order to enhance the proing that each one of them is a member of grams that they offer for their children. a global community and each one of them has the ability to change the world. Charitable 501(c)3 organizations, like The Montessori Foundation, need finanThe Montessori Foundation has helped cial assistance from people like you to continue our work. These gifts can be

The Montessori Foundation

Montessori THE


19600 E State Road 64 • Bradenton, FL 34212 941-729-9565/800-655-5843 • 941-745-3111 (fax)

Dr. Maria Montessori 1870-1952 Italy’s First Female Medical Doctor Creater of the “Montessori Method” Educational Activist Child Advocate Nobel Peace Prize Nominee

donated as gifts of cash, negotiable securities, and charitable bequests. By making bequests and other “planned gifts,” you continue to make an important difference in the world. What better way to thank the people or organizations that have had an impact on your life, or the life of your child or grandchild, than to make a contribution from your estate through a bequest? Gifts large and small are important. It is a way to demonstrate your values and beliefs to your family. It reinforces what you have done during your life and sets an example of kindness to people you wish to help. By donating, you become an immortal philanthropist. If you would like to help The Montessori Foundation continue our work, please visit our website at or call our office: 800-655-5843/941729-9565.


DE C 2 0 1 2 | w w w. m o n | © Mont essori L ea de rship


7577 E. Main Street, Lima, NY 14485 1 (877) 807-PLAY or (585) 624-5964 30

Š Mo n tesso r i L ea de r sh i p | w | DEC 2012

2013 Montessori Leadership Institute

Distance learning is fast becoming the easiest way for busy administrators and administration personnel at your school to keep up with new information or gain valuable insights. This is an excellent way for first time administrators to learn from the bottom up.

Building a World-Class Montessori School: Turning Your Dreams Into Reality January 19 - April 13, 2013 (12 weeks) Finding the Perfect Match: Attracting & Retaining the Right Families for Your School January 19 - April 13, 2013 (12 weeks) An Overview of Montessori Principles and Curriculum January 19 - April 13, 2013 (12 weeks) Curriculum Theory and Its Application in Montessori Programs January 19 - March 2, 2013 (6 weeks)

The Montessori Board January 19 - March 3, 2013 (6 weeks) Location Your office or home, on your computer! Instructors Tim Seldin and Sharon Caldwell of the Montessori Foundation Special discount for IMC members and multiple attendees from the same IMC school.

For more information visit the Montessori Leadership wing on our website:

DE C 2 0 1 2 | w w w. m o n | Š Mont essori L ea de rship


The International Montessori Council 19600 E SR 64 • Bradenton, FL 34212

Non-Profit Org U.S. Postage PAID St. Petersburg, FL

Montessori Leadership December 2012  

This is the December, 2012 issue of Montessori Leadership magazine, the journal of the International Montessori Council

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you